I Pledge to Help Women & Girls Achieve Their Ambitions – IWD 2016

International Women's Day

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, a day set aside to recognize women’s contributions to the social, economic, cultural and political health of our world. The theme this year is gender parity. The IWD website notes

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

While I’m realistic in knowing that I can’t make any sort of major steps toward achieving gender parity, I’m taking up one of the IWD pledges in my own little corner of the world:

Pledge for parity

One way women can continue to push the boundaries is through improved self-confidence. There are few things better for building a person’s sense of self than getting outside and active. According to a March 6 article, from the Couer d’Alene Press, “…There is some research that suggests outdoor play leads to overall well being, which ultimately leads to higher self esteem and confidence.”And right now, according to Jill Sanford at The Clymb, is a great time to be an active outdoor woman:

…Most mil­len­ni­als were raised by women who had the oppor­tu­nity to be active. We grew up with pro­fes­sional female ath­letes as role mod­els. We played sports and went hik­ing with our dads and broth­ers. Life wasn’t always like this for girls, but slowly, the norm has shifted and women are allowed, even encour­aged, to be active par­tic­i­pants in all things athletic.

Organizations have popped up all over the country to give women and girls a chance to get active and play outside. Here are just a few:

  • Women Outdoors: A network where women can meet other women who share their outdoor interests and values. We provide a place for women who, through the outdoors, build bridges among members of diverse outdoor skills, ages, lifestyles and cultures.
  • Outdoor Women’s Alliance: The nonprofit media and adventure collective that encourages, educates, and engages females through adventure sports worldwide.
  • CLIPPED Outdoors:  community organization with a passion for engaging women in active outdoor pursuits. Through community building, programming, networking and partnerships, we enable women to advance and excel as leaders and mentors in their active outdoor goals.
  • Girls on the Run: A 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

If you’re still on the fence, many states, including Illinois and Ohio, have programs designed to introduce women to outdoors activities.

Okay, I fully acknowledge that getting outside will not in and of itself reduce gender parity. However, I know from experience that the problem-solving skills, resilience, determination, persistence, and adaptability I’ve learned from participating in outdoor activities have prepared me well for the challenges I face on the job and in my social world. If I’m pledging to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, I think getting outside is a great first step.

How will you help women and girls achieve their goals in 2016? Will you take the IWD #PledgeforParity with me? 

**A special thanks for Sayanti aka Shine at the blog Close to you for the reminder of IWD’s approach!